Tough guy Riley Emmerson believes a gruelling road trip could be a “blessing in disguise” for Edinburgh Capitals.
Tomorrow’s clash at Hull Stingrays is the first of four games in five nights away from home for a Murrayfield side beset with injury, suspension and struggling to end a five-game losing streak.
Emmerson, speaking only hours after coming round from a successful operation at Livingston’s St John’s Hospital on his broken nose sustained in Caps’ recent home defeat to Fife Flyers, said: “I think it’ll be a big test and a learning curve. This could be the road trip that brings this team even closer together and helps us gel.”
Edinburgh will be without injured pair, player-coach Richard Hartmann (knee) and Joe Grimaldi (groin), and team captain Jade Portwood, who serves the first of a two-game ban picked up for a check to the head of Derek Roehl in last week’s defeat to Braehead Clan.
“We have 13 or 14 guys right now,” continued Emmerson, “but when we get everybody back this will have been a good experience for us. Something we can build from.
“At the moment, there has had to be a lot of chopping and changing in the lines, which in the long term can help us as everybody on the team becomes more familiar with one another’s game.
“Right now, we’re putting guys together that you wouldn’t normally expect, but this is where you find that unexpected spark or chemistry that could really get the team going. I’m hoping this week could be a blessing in disguise for us.
“We’ve lost five in a row. The guys have been talking about how we need to nip this in the bud as fast as possible. All our attention is on Hull tomorrow, we’re not thinking ahead any further than that.”
Emmerson believes Edinburgh can take confidence from last month’s 5-2 win over the Stingrays, the only time the two sides have met this season.
He said: “We’re missing three of the players that helped us get that win, but we have other guys that are ready to step up. We know we can get a result, we just need to focus on what we did well to win that night and take it from there.”
Edinburgh face Coventry Blaze on Sunday, before matches on Tuesday and Wednesday against Elite League powerhouses Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers.
Five nights without home comforts may be enough to put some players’ nose out of joint, but Emmerson is used to life on the road in North America.
“Last year, when I was in the CHL with Arizona Sundogs we had a trip of something like 15 games in 21 nights,” he said.